Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
“On the beach in my flip-flops walking my three dogs is where I would be if I had a day to escape,” says Sarah Fuller, owner of north Portland’s NoPo Paws Pet Boutique.
“With my dogs — my problem children, as I lovingly call them — and in my flip-flops, the shoes I am most comfortable in and that represent my favorite place to be. I literally wear them 24/7 June through October — they reflect how laid-back I am, and how much I value being comfortable in my own skin.”
A self-professed “nerd and band geek” in high school, this savvy urban business owner grew up in rural Nebraska where she was class valedictorian and played the flute in marching band. “I totally embrace my inner nerd. I have a BS in Television Studies, and have used my background in finance/business management as well as my experiences as a mother of three very different dog breeds as a huge resource for opening and running my business. I have a Lab, Maggie, who has some health issues, a Pit Bull mix, Sadie, and a St. Bernard mix, Hurley (named after a character on Lost, one of our favorite shows).”
In 2006, Sarah and her husband sold their belongings, packed up their car, and moved with their one dog from Atlanta to Portland. “Portland just seemed like home,” she says. “And when I began volunteering at the humane society I knew I had found my passion. Eventually I quit my finance job to focus on sharing my experience as a pet owner, and environmentally-friendly and locally-made pet products. I wanted to be that local business owner who was part of the community and give back in some way.”
Giving back is a constant for this busy professional, and the community loves her for it. Every few months NoPo Paws selects an animal nonprofit to receive 10 percent of its net profits. During that time, the chosen group hosts in-store fundraising and adoption events.
“I wanted to give back locally, so we are constantly working with animal welfare facilities and businesses. I also am a huge advocate for Pit Bull advocacy and awareness as I have a Pit Bull mix, Sadie, who is so loveable. People need to realize it is not the breed; it is the people and how they raise them,” she says.
As busy as she is, Sarah does make time for guilty pleasures. Number-one: “Pizza!”
Sweet or salty? “Salty…French fries and nuts…I love nuts of any kind. Sweet salted-caramel — I guess that sort of covers both.”
What’s in her Halloween treat bag? “Anything with chocolate & peanut butter.”
About her favorite season — fall — she says, “I love wearing sweaters and scarves and walking my dogs in my favorite neighborhood park, Columbia Park — it has a peaceful feeling and great trees.”
When asked what one thing about her might surprise people, she laughs. After a brief pause, she says, “I am a total introvert. I love to spend my quiet time reading (Little Women is an all-time favorite) and taking quiet walks with my husband and my dogs. The thought of making small-talk at a business conference terrifies me,” confides this woman who so many know as outgoing and charismatic.
“Owning my own business has allowed me to come to work 100-percent as myself. I embrace who I am, I have found my passion, and I do not have to worry about ‘what the boss thinks!’”
If asked for one piece of advice for pet owners, Sarah says, it would be: “To treat each pet as an individual; one size does not fit all. Thinking of every pet as an individual, with everything from food to training to toys makes a difference. Do not get stuck in the breed … each pet is an individual with its own behavior, personality and needs. My goal is to really help people understand and find what is best for their pet.”
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood.
Melinda Thompson is a freelance writer with a degree in Speech Communications and a coveted "Ducktorate" from the Walt Disney World Company. She has been featured in many local magazines and newspapers. She lives in Vancouver USA with her husband, son and daughter.